This season, your Cleveland Cavaliers have won 20 games and lost 40. Last season, the Cavs won only 19 games and lost 63. That sounds like an improvement, no?
Last year's team was atrocious. It would be hard not to improve from that. The Cavs have a rebuilding plan. Last year was the transition year in the plan. Their best players (Antawn Jamison and Anderson Varejao) only played 87 games between them. Their stop-gap point guard (Baron Davis) only played 15 games. Basketball-reference.com says they were among the worst teams in the league. They just didn't have much talent to win games.
Their 20-38 record suggests that the Cavs have improved from last year. However, they are still not even close to being a good team. Their record against sub-500 teams is 10-15. They are 7-25 over the past 32 games and have been getting beaten by double digits almost routinely. Basketball-reference.com isn't much kinder this season, either.
On the bright side, this is a young team that is in year two in the rebuild plan. If you exclude Jamison and Luke Walton, their average age is under 25. Right now, they are running guys like Donald Sloan, Luke Harangody, Samardo Samuels, and Lester Hudson out there. These young players will work on their game in the summer league. They'll have a full off-season to practice with the team then a full pre-season to improve. Their defense needs a lot of work. Unfortunately, the Cavs aren't going to be able to compete with a team of D-League talent. They need first round picks.
The Cavs aren't one player away from contending. Their goal should be to have a team of solid players that can play winning basketball. Part of the process is auditioning guys like Sloan and Hudson. The scouting department has worked hard finding these two as both of them might be keepers.
Most small market teams tank at the end of the season. The league does not want to admit it but the games played now only matter to half of the league. Players like Kyrie Irving and Varejao are resting for next season. If tanking is the only way for the Cavs to get Anthony Davis, I'm all for it. Davis, Irving, a healthy Varejao, and a good free agent pickup should help them improve.
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